Vancouver Canucks beat Washington Capitals, 3-2

By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 19, 2009

VANCOUVER -- Fans stood in long lines for Alex Ovechkin's autograph Thursday. Hundreds more showed up early on Friday at GM Place wearing his No. 8 jersey just to see the two-time MVP warm up.

But when Ovechkin had the chance to show them what all the fuss is about, the Vancouver Canucks made sure he didn't.

Ovechkin finished without a point, and Mason Raymond scored his second goal of the game on a controversial power play with 6 minutes 4 seconds remaining to lift the Canucks to a 3-2 victory before a capacity crowd.

Poti was whistled for cross-checking Alex Burrows with 7:36 left to play, then was given a second minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct after slamming shut the door to the penalty box.

"I didn't agree with the call at all," Poti said. "I hit him up high [but] I don't know how I fell. I thought it was a dive."

One minute 20 seconds later, Raymond tucked a rebound underneath the crossbar to seal the win.

The Capitals, who went 0 for 4 on the power play, were given one last opportunity when Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa hauled down Alexander Semin on a short-handed breakaway. But Semin did not get off a strong attempt on the ensuing penalty shot, which was turned away by Roberto Luongo, who finished with 25 saves.

"I don't know if he got the shot off," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It looked like he whiffed on it a bit."

Ovechkin, who had recorded three goals and five assists in his previous five games since returning from suspension, had an uncharacteristically quiet night, in part because of smothering defense applied to him by Willie Mitchell and Sami Salo. Ovechkin finished with three shots on goal, all of which were taken in the third period, and finished without a point for only the sixth time this season.

"I just don't have the puck," he said. "Sometimes I just try to play way too fancy."

Boudreau added: "Every time he touched it, they went after him and did a good job and he couldn't get away from them. When teams play good defense, you have to give them credit. I think he worked hard, he just didn't get anything accomplished. When his A-game is going he's got 12 shots on net, eight go wide and six get blocked. Give Vancouver credit, they did a great job of forcing him in our zone and not giving him a chance to get the puck."

"But he was only average tonight," the coach added. "He'll be the first one to admit it."

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